Mr. Speaker, I will be sharing my time with the hon. member for Kamloops—Thompson—Cariboo. She is an amazing member of Parliament. I am so proud to share my time with her today.
Today is a sad day. It is sad that our country has gone to this level. It did not need to be this way. Canada is a trading nation. We are a nation that sells some $300 billion of goods around the world. Around the world, Canada is thought of as a friendly, polite and respectful nation. The rule of law is important in our nation. We tell other nations that the rule of law is what helps us to be who we are today.
We are talking about the barricades and what is going on in Canada, across western Canada, and the impact it is having on families right across the country. The inaction and the inability of the Liberal government to understand how serious things are is pretty disappointing. It shows how out of touch the Liberals are. The inability to react or know what to do shows us how weak the leadership of the Liberal government is.
Last week I was talking to a farmer friend of mine, Rick Lindsay, when this was happening. Rick had a couple of loads of wheat he wanted to get out. He has a cash advance just like every other farmer. He asked me what was going on. He said farmers have been fighting a hard harvest. They have a carbon tax. He wants to ship some grain, but he cannot get it shipped. He has contracts he wants to fulfill so he can get some cash flow and he has to start organizing and purchasing fertilizer for the spring, so he wants to know what is going on.
Let us look at the situation on the west coast with the Wet'suwet'en nation. The elected officials are in favour of this pipeline. The 20 bands along the route are in favour. How can three people, how can activists in Ontario, how can activists who have no skin in the game take a country down? That is what they want to do. They want to take this country down.
The member for Brandon—Souris talked about a group of farmers fighting for freedom. They were fighting for the freedom to sell the product they grow on their own. They did not want a Canadian wheat board. They protested, and that protest consisted of taking a sack of wheat across the border. They were arrested.
They were not being violent. They were not being smug to the RCMP. They were not being disrespectful. They were making a point. They were protesting. What did the Chrétien government do to those farmers?
People would be amazed to hear what that government did to those people. They were treated as if they were drug dealers. They were arrested and charged and thrown in jail. The minister at the time, who was from Malpeque, said the law is the law is the law. He said those farmers broke the law, so they had to go to jail. Minister Goodale at the time said he agreed that the law is the law is the law. He felt those farmers broke the law, so they have to go to jail.
It is easy to throw farmers in jail, because they are polite and respectful. They are not criminals and they are not anarchists. They are not trying to take down the country. Those farmers were fighting for something. They had skin in the game, something that was important to them. They were willing to cross that line to make a point. They were never going to put an RCMP officer's life at risk. They were never going to disrupt the country. They were never going to create a situation in which people would not be able to get contact lenses here in Ottawa or not get baby formula across the country or not get propane in eastern Canada. That was not their intent. They did not disrupt the whole Canadian economy. They wanted to make a point.
That is the difference between the type of protest we are seeing today versus a true protest. A true protest would be peaceful. A Gandhi-style protest would not include taking up arms. A Gandhi-style protest would not include protesters sitting on the ground and stating they are going to disrupt this country and take it to its knees. This protest going on is not a Gandhi-style protest. These people are anarchists. These people do not have skin in the game.
We need to ask ourselves what is going on and how it got to this point. When we do not enforce the rule of law, this is what happens. It is one of those things that just keeps growing and growing. If people get away with it once, with no slap on the wrist, they feel they can do it again.
We have a member from Vancouver who was arrested for protesting and received a slap on the wrist. There were no consequences. That makes people think they will do another one, since there were no consequences—
An. hon. member: The Green Party leader.
Mr. Randy Hoback: Yes, the Green Party leader.
People want to do another one, and another one, and another one after that, because there are no consequences. They think it is fun. Then they put it on a crowdfunding site in the U.S. and get paid to do it. We have seen that happen. This can be happening at this point in time.
What is the goal of these protesters? The Liberals have to look at that very seriously as a government, and ask if this is a real issue of reconciliation.
For some of them, for a small group, maybe it is. However, they are being abused by all of the other people who actually have no skin in the game. It is not their issue. They just want to stop development at all costs.
How do we deal with people like that? We enforce the rule of law. If we do not enforce the rule of law now, what prevents them from cranking it up later, and more and more going into the future?
I am very concerned that if we do not do things properly and fairly right now, if we do not deal with these issues in an appropriate fashion right now, it is going to lead to even more chaos as we get into the summer.
I will go back to the $300-billion worth of goods every year. If I am a company owner who is thinking about building a plant in Canada, and think that Canada is a pretty good place and Canadians are good people, but I see in an article that Canada has protests going on and it has shut down its rail lines, it tells me that if I build in Canada I may not be able to get propane for my plant.
That is what we are telling the world right now. As folks in Canada are trying to sell investment opportunities in Canada to corporations or other companies, business people are asking why they would do that, when there is no rule of law in Canada. It is gone. The Prime Minister is not enforcing the law, and he is very weak.
I was in a committee last night where we had a witness whose business has seven facilities across Canada building IPEX pipes for plumbing and electrical goods, to run the cable through it. At the end of the testimony, I asked him how things were going. He said that four out of the company's seven plants are now shutting down because they cannot get the raw goods to make the pipes. That is one facility.
I had wings with a friend last night. He was wearing his glasses and I asked him why he was wearing them. He said he could not get contact lenses. He could not find contacts in Ottawa, so he was wearing his glasses.
We are starting to see what is going to happen here unless the folks across the aisle start to deal with this in a serious manner. Our economy is shutting down and there is going to be a tremendous cost.
Even if we were to end the blockades today, it will take time to get things going. I hear about vandalism to rails out on the west coast. Before a train can cross a bridge, that bridge is now going to have to be fully inspected. The consequences of what these folks have done in just more than two weeks are pretty serious. They are going to last quite a while.
Another thing I want to highlight is that the grain sector has had its challenges in shipping its product around the global market. I can remember having debates with CN and CP about them not delivering on time. I remember times when there were 50-plus ships sitting in the port of Vancouver. We are at 40 now, and 10 in Prince Rupert. A purchaser of Canadian grain, from Japan let us say, who needs just-in-time delivery is going to get tired of us in Canada and is going to buy from the U.S.
That is what is happening here. That is the breakdown. There are implications for this country of more and more unemployment and families not being able to pay their bills. It is a domino effect. The dominoes have started to fall, and it is not a pretty ending. This could have been stopped. It could have been prevented.
When we go to communities and say we are going to do this and this for them, when we raise expectations this high and then do nothing or very little, what do we expect? That is what the government has done. The reality is now Canadians are going to pay for it, and that is very disappointing.
There is no reason Canadians should be paying for this. This should have been dealt with a long time ago. It should never have gotten to this point, and it is sad that it has.